Let’s talk Saab!

Hi, Folks!,

Well, it’s been some time since the last update, so I figured we should post a new one. More importantly, the last update included brief information about the Saab 340A and how it has been moved to the high speed lane to see it through to the final stages of completion. We have not wavered from this stance since the last posting here, and we’d like to show you how things have been progressing!

A little background

This project started in 2009. In fact, we’ve just passed the three year mark on it, but what’s important to note here is the amount of re-work that has gone into it over time. When we first started this project it was intended to be a soft system simulation. We had neared release time with it, but towards the end of the road we decided it would be wise to go back to the drawing board and really focus on implementing custom coded systems. This has remained our vision, however, as time moves forward so too do our skills (Goran, Theo, and Jim at Leading Edge Simulations primarily). While code has continually progressed, the Saab is now on its third iteration of texturing and 3D mesh re-work (and the third time is the charm). We are extremely happy with how this product is shaping up, and without doubt we believe our customers will be awe inspired at the systems simulation, the texture work, and the 3D artwork. When viewing all of this working together in X-Plane there is one word to explain it: amazing! You will be hard pressed to find any model this detailed, and when you bring together the coded systems and texture work it becomes unrivaled.

Fast forward to today

Today the Saab is riding down the road of completion. We are in heavy testing of systems while working in parallel with coding in the remaining features. This has become a full time project for those involved at Leading Edge Simulations and to say we’re excited for release day would be an understatement! As we move forward we will continue to update the blog here as well as the Saab 340 forum section at X-Pilot.com. It’s going to get very busy with Saab progress updates, so I hope you’re as prepared as we are to hear all about it!

What to expect

We’ve been head first into the Saab AOM’s for months now (okay, years), and have had a consultant group of real world Saab 340 pilots throughout the development process. It’s been a great experience learning about the systems and how they differ from variant to variant, and we’re excited for you to learn all about this stuff as well! This product has a lot of complexity and will require you to read, but we know a lot of you really enjoy that part of the process! Thus far, the Saab simulation has been so realistic we have achieved issues we thought may be possible bugs only to realize the simulation is doing exactly as it should according to the real world Saab operations (engine governing, anyone?). We’ll get more into this as updates progress, of course, but it’s cool to mention!


Like the CRJ-200, this product will be a part of our Take Command! line. The systems simulation warrants this, and we’re sure you will agree. The displays are all custom coded, as is the autopilot and everything in-between. There are no default X-Plane instruments or logic at play here, and we’re proud of this achievement. Again, as time progresses we will let you in on further information and why this product is a giant leap for X-Plane and systems depth!

Showing it off

Okay, I’m going to give you a little preview below of what’s to come and what it is you’re looking at in the screenshots. More updates will follow, but for now we’re starting it off with the below images and descriptions.

Please Note: All images below may be clicked to see a bigger size, and all images are work in progress!

First thing you’ll notice is how sharp and beautiful these displays are. It’s also important to note the curved appearance of these displays, as they are CRT screens. In sim they are really gorgeous and fluid, and part of this has to do with the fact that rather than using default X-Plane displays we are drawing our own through custom coded OpenGL. The results are very nice!

Okay, so let’s familiarize yourself on what the information in these displays mean. In the above image there are a number of systems related things going on here, all of which are maintained in the Saab 340′s custom code. The EADI (top display, and stands for Electronic Attitude Display Indicator) shows the HDG and VS modes with VS reference. On the left side of the display you’ll notice a vertical bar with ‘F’ on top and ‘S’ on bottom. This is the Fast/Slow indicator and on the right side of the display also going vertical with circular objects you’ll see the Glideslope. The horizontal diamonds on the bottom of this display are the VOR deviation scale, and the larger green colored ’0′ is the Radio Altitude. Finally, just below this we have the Decision Height (DH). As you can see it is currently set to 0, but it can be adjusted up to 999 feet.

The bottom display in the image is called the EHSI (Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator). On the left side of the display you’ll see a green rectangle around the letters ‘ANG.’ This indicates displayed deviation, or the angle between the aircraft and the selected radial for the VOR/LOC. In the bottom left you’ll see this is tuned to VOR 1 with an OBS of 133 selected. On the bottom right of the EHSI you’ll see VOR 2 is tuned and receiving a signal but is not displayed because 2nd CRS is not selected. On the upper right portion you’ll see the letters ‘TTG.’ This stands for Time To Go to the selected NAV (VOR 1 in this case), and for this particular scenario indicates we have 9.3 minutes remaining to the waypoint. Just above this we have ‘ET,’ or Elapsed Time, and it’s set to 00:00. This timer can be started and stopped with the ET button on the DCP (Display Control Panel). Something also to note in this display is that the deviation bar shows our aircraft is not pointing towards the VOR, and you’ll see the TO/FROM flag is showing ‘TO’ as an indication we are going to the VOR station, both on the CRS indicator and to the right of ‘VOR1′ in the bottom left. The yellow text on the screen reads ‘XHDG’ and is displayed when XSIDE DATA is selected (data provided by opposite side of cockpit).

Now that we have a brief introduction of what this data on the displays mean, lets move to our next image!

In this image you’ll see on the EHSI that a range arc is displayed. This arc is always half the full displayed range, with the half-range displayed in text to assist you in getting a feel for your distance. In this instance you’ll see it on the bottom right side of the arc as ’10.’ A course pointer is also displayed for the first nav source (VOR 1). If we were to switch to a second nav source on the DCP an octagonal symbol would be displayed and show the position of the VOR.

Let’s keep moving!…

Here we show VOR 1 and VOR 2 course lines that are adjusted by the CRS 1 and CRS 2 knobs. A solid line indicates “TO” and a broken line indicates “FROM.” The octagonal VOR symbols (and associated course lines) are only displayed when the VOR is DME equipped. The second source may be turned off by pressing the 2nd CRS button on the DCP.

And finally…

Plainly put, this is sector mode on the EHSI with a weather radar displayed. It’s a fun image, so why not show it?

So, this is just a really brief overview on a minor scale of the displays. It is a very small part of the Saab 340 simulation, yet a huge one as well! This is also work in progress, and we wanted you to be a part of seeing it! As stated, all CRT screens are coded in OpenGL using vector and texture graphics with virtually NO discernable FPS impact.

We’re really excited about this Saab, folks, and hopefully you are too!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have showing it to you!

Until next time…

Blue Skies!,


P.S. Want even more previews and screenshots periodically? Like our FaceBook page and you’ll get just that!

Behind the Scenes

Hello, Pilots!,

It seems crazy to think that nearly a year ago I was given a pre-release copy of X-Plane 10 to begin testing out X-Aviation products and ensure stability, as well as report bugs. Looking back, a year sure can go quick, especially when you’re busy!

Speaking of busy, that’s what it’s like for all of us at X-Aviation right now, and if you’ve kept up with various forum topics from our X-Aviation developers at X-Pilot you are likely aware of this. However, it’s still good to cover all that’s going on and what we have to look forward to in the coming months, so let’s do that now!..

Development World

Cessna 152 Update

First up, Jason at 4Forces is working very hard on the update for the Cessna 152, as well as the newly announced Piper Archer III. The Cessna 152 has been long known as the best flight model of its type for X-Plane, and that still holds true today. That said, it never hurts to further expand and update your model, and that’s precisely what Jason is doing for us! You can see multiple screenshots of the Cessna 152 update in the 4Forces forums.


Jetstream 31/32

Second up, Javier at JRollon is working on continued development for the Jetstream 31/32, and it’s looking real nice! If you haven’t checked this one out you really should. There are numerous posts in the forums, and Javier is very good about updating everyone on this project. We’re cutting him a little slack over the last few weeks though…he’s a newly married man and is enjoying his family! Congratulations, Javier!


Next up, we have RealScenery. It’s been really quiet on this front for a long while now publicly, but in the background it’s a whole other story! We are really close now to finalizing NORCAL, and we’re really excited about this one! This is a very large package, and as we have previously discussed it will be buyable both as an entire package, or tile by tile. This gives you greater flexibility to purchase only what you wish. NORCAL has gone through several re-makes, each time getting better and applying new scripting and graphical techniques. We know a lot of people ask us about this one, and we wanted you to know that it genuinely is close to being complete! The installer/downloader system for it is vastly improved, and once released we’ll begin supporting Linux downloads. NORCAL is my primary area to fly in X-Plane due to its beauty!


Last up is Leading Edge Simulations. These guys are incredibly hard at work, producing so many aircraft behind the scenes that are unannounced it is scary! This said, I can’t tell you about all of them, but I can tell you about the primary product I’d like to focus on in the bunch, and that’s the Saab 340A! As some of you will remember, this product was on the cuff of a release last year. However, due to various issues (including time), we had to put the project on hold and re-think a few things. This worked for the better, as we were able to come back to the project in full force and bring the 3D model up to an even higher standard. You can see a couple of pics in the forums. Something we haven’t shown a lot of since reviving this product is some of the programming that’s going on for this project. It will be a part of our Take Command! product line, so you can expect high fidelity and systems to function, and you will need to read the manual! This product features custom OpenGL displays, a custom autopilot, and many, many other features. Originally I was the programmer in this project, but due to constraints on keeping X-Aviation in check and developing new shop-driven code, I had to step away from this project and hand the source code over to Jim from JGX-Designs. He’s now with Leading Edge Simulations full-time and is doing a phenomenal job in bringing the product to completion! To give you a little sneak peek, check out the following image showing an interactive diagram utilized for in-house testing to ensure the custom programming and various bus systems are working correctly in the aircraft per the Saab 340 Operation Manuals…

Saab 340A Bus Work


That’s the light version of what we having going on in the development cycle (that we’re ready to go public with at least). It’s fun to give you a glimpse, and we’re really excited to get these products out the door and in your hands! This is not all that we have going on, however! There’s more, so read on…

Customer Service World

XA Giveaway

In the event you missed it, X-Aviation has a free giveaway going on right now. Five people will be selected to choose ANY X-Plane product of their choice on the X-Aviation store! If you haven’t gotten in on this yet, you should! You can find out more information on the giveaway page at X-Aviation.

I am extremely pleased to announce we have implemented our live chat support service and so far it’s a big hit. We have this open almost 24/7, and anyone on the line is able to assist you with ANY issue you have! Customer service is one of the most important aspects to X-Aviation, so I am really enthusiastic about things that make the experience better for you guys. That, and I (as well as the other guys) really enjoy interacting with all of you here in the X-Plane community! Drop by anytime if you have any questions or issues and we’ll certainly be happy to help!

Another new way to get in touch with us includes our brand new FaceBook page, as well as our already long time existing Twitter page! We are very receptive to your support issues or opinions on any matter, so check us out! I personally interact quite a bit at X-Pilot as well.

I hope this post has been a quick, enjoyable getaway to your day, and as usual, I really appreciate you coming here to read what I have to say! Thank you so much for being the best customers around. The X-Plane community truly is great!

Blue Skies!,


I call ‘em as I see ‘em…

Hello, Pilots!,

Well, it’s been a little while since a post on here. There’s so much going on with new products and projects that it’s slowed the blog pace, though after our next two releases things will begin to pick up on the blog side of things.

I actually was going to refrain from posting anything about a newcomer in the X-Plane payware market, but sometimes you must do such a thing if specific conditions are met. Conditions is in bold for good reason here.

We recently discontinued selling the T28-C add-on in January. While good, the developers of this add-on (Bruno GREGOIRE aka Khamsin and Arnaud PREVOT aka Arno54) had a change of heart as to the terms of their contract with X-Aviation and decided they would like to cross-sell on multiple stores. We’ve allowed this in past times, though in a more recent change of events we have elected to no longer sign such contracts now and into the future. The main reason for this boils down to our core values as a publishing company and the customer service nightmare than comes from such a situation. It is not uncommon for X-Aviation to receive a multitude of technical support requests from various customers that have purchased cross-sold products on a store other than X-Aviation due to a customer receiving no attention to their customer service needs from the original store they bought from (there’s only a handful in the X-Plane world). This ultimately leads up to X-Aviation having to explain to the customer that we are unable to assist them in such a scenario given they are not a customer of our own, and also diminishes any time we would like to dedicate to customers who do buy from X-Aviation, which as it stands is plenty enough to keep us busy through the day! Now, with that explanation on our side out of the way, X-Aviation respected the wishes of Arnaud and Bruno to terminate their contract with the intention of going non-exclusive on their own. All was well in the world at this time. :)

Time has gone on and both Arnaud and Bruno have come out with their new website/store. We welcome competition whole heartedly at X-Aviation. This helps the market grow, and we view the entry of companies like Aerosoft to be very positive! X-Aviation is not a run of the mill “carry everything” store, and as such we are set apart enough in the market to be stable going forward. This is not a race for the next mega add-on store, but rather a matter of quality each and every time! All this said, what we don’t feel the X-Plane market needs is a company representing what our wonderful community is all about with unethical moves. What do I mean by this? Well, I’ll explain this below…

Arnaud and Bruno have a common theme going on at their new website/store: Ethics. Let’s look at a few quotes throughout their site:

“Are we the only ones who really believe ethics is not a meaningless word ?”

“The concept is quite simple and yet, unusual : it is all about ethics.”

“The idea is to have a vendor (us…) who gives up all his benefits (ok, say “most of”) and only charges the developpers for what is ethically acceptable.”

“It might not be obvious for you visitors, but it takes some serious amount of goats to dare risking his job on such a bet. Xplane-addons.com does not promise whatever, so the developpers who joined us, have all one sole motivation : ethics.”

All of the above sounds great, and I would say these guys have earned their wings with the great add-ons they have provided to the X-Plane community. However, their business model seems shaky at best if things were to ever hit mainstream, and more importantly there are some mighty unethical, crazy terms they have set forth for their developers, and more importantly for you as customers.

For starters, I quote the following from Arnaud and Bruno’s terms for selling a product on their website: “You have full access to all statistics of the site, traffic, sales for all devs, everybody’s figures, customers lists – everything. And vice-versa. If some data is missing, simply ask. Transparency is the rule.”

As a developer, you should be aware that these terms. If you’re comfortable with the whole developer world at this new store of theirs seeing your sales figures, your income, and your customers lists then this is your cup of tea! However, many developers do not like this, and more importantly, customers and people in general prefer privacy! Be warned that should you purchase from this new store (a store without any secure encryption for your private information might I add) your private contact information will be shared under the current terms. I don’t know about you, but this is pretty unethical in many observers opinons. The lack of privacy as a customer purchasing from said store is rather staggering at best. On the contrary, at X-Aviation we do not EVER share any customer information with anyone including all developers unless you as the customer choose to provide information and speak to someone yourself. Not only would it be unethical for us to do so, it is against the law in the part of the world we are from.

The above is just the icing on the cake when we talk about ethics. More astonishing to me was the fact that Arnaud and Bruno not only copy and pasted an entire page regarding YOUR PRIVACY as a customer on their site from X-Aviation, they forgot to delete one very important part of this copied text (as if blatantly copying X-Aviation’s page was not enough). A picture of this can only do it justice, and is only a very small snippet of the copied context:

Arnaud and Bruno have word for word copied X-Aviation's Terms and Conditions, then replaced the word "X-Aviation" with their website name. Unfortunately, they forgot to remove X-Aviation's legal contact address from this copied webpage.

In the above image you can see that Arnaud and Bruno take great care to ensure copyrights are not infringed upon, and that if you need to report infringement to contact…me!? Something’s not right here! Is it not only I who finds it unethical and ironic that your privacy as a customer is the last thing on the back of these guys’ minds? That their Terms of Service are likely not something they are even aware (since it’s been copied and pasted from X-Aviation directly…oops) of in terms of the contents and how they pertain to your privacy as a customer? That Arnaud PREVOT and Bruno GREGOIRE quite obviously just replaced the word “X-Aviation” with “Xplane-Addons?”

Folks, last time I checked:

1. I, Cameron, do not have any ties with this Xplane-Addons site.

2. I, Cameron, did not request that these two people copy and paste the contents of my webpage and list me as their copyright point of contact.

I’m sorry, Arnaud and Bruno, but I do not find your actions to be ethical in any form and I am saddened by this. The integrity and credibility of your comments leave much to be desired and I hope developers and customers heed caution with their private information when considering purchasing or selling on your site.

That’s all for today, fellow pilots. I apologize in advance that this was not a jovial post in the end! Hopefully we can all move forward on this and get back on track with the right foot out of the gate.

Thanks for listening!